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Total Search Problems in Bounded Arithmetic and Improved Witnessing

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Author: Arnold Beckmann and Jean-Jose Razafindrakoto
Title: Total Search Problems in Bounded Arithmetic and Improved Witnessing
Proceedings: Logic, Language, Information, and Computation (WoLLiC), 2017, 24th International Workshop on
Pages: 31 - 47
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-662-55386-2_3

Abstract: We define a new class of total search problems as a subclass of Megiddo and Papadimitriou's class of total $\NP$ search problems, in which solutions are verifiable in $\AC^0$. We denote this class $\forall\exists\AC^0$. We show that all total $\NP$ search problems are equivalent wrt. $\AC^0$-many-one reductions to search problems in $\forall\exists\AC^0$. Furthermore, we show that $\forall\exists\AC^0$ contains well-known problems such as the Stable Marriage and the Maximal Independent Set problems. We introduce the class of Inflationary Iteration problems in $\forall\exists\AC^0$ and show that it characterizes the provably total $\NP$ search problems of the bounded arithmetic theory corresponding to polynomial-time. Cook and Nguyen introduced a generic way of defining a bounded arithmetic theory $\VC$ for complexity classes $\C$ which can be obtained using a complete problem. For such $C$ we will define a new class $\KPT[C]$ of $\forall\exists\AC^0$ search problems based on Student-Teacher games in which the student has computing power limited to $\AC^0$. We prove that $\KPT[C]$ characterizes the provably total $\NP$ search problems of the bounded arithmetic theory corresponding to $\C$. All our characterizations are obtained via "new-style" witnessing theorems, where reductions are provable in a theory corresponding to $\AC^0$.

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